“Fake News” Chosen As Word Of The Year 2017


We all love to read the news. Without them, you wouldn’t know who to fear and what to be anxious about for the day. Without them, you wouldn’t stumble upon unmissable sales, special offers, online casino promos that make you want to play. And without them, you wouldn’t have the chance to be thankful for living in a peaceful community, without all the terrorist attacks, shootings, protests, wildfires, tornadoes and hurricanes, alien invasions and second comings happening all around the world. But in the last year, many of the news you so much love to read while having your morning coffee (or COVFEFE) have been proven to be fake. So many, in fact, that “fake news” has become a household term all over the internet. And – thanks in part to United States president Donald Trump – it has been elected as the “Word of the Year” by the UK-based Collins Dictionary last fall.

A glorious ascension

According to the Collins English Dictionary, a respectable printed and online dictionary of the English language published by HarperCollins since 1979, the definition of “fake news” is “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”. And last year we’ve had our share of fake news invade our news feeds.

Vanity Fair made a top list of all the fakest fake news that made the headlines during the last year – they range from Melania Trump’s body double and his husband’s inauguration crowd to the shark brought ashore in Houston by Hurricane Harvey and Kid Rock running for Senate. And Donald Trump used the term so often – usually calling respected media outlets like the New York Times and CNN disseminators of false information, that it has seen a 365% growth since 2016 – one percent for every day of 2017.

The other contenders

Deciding on the “word of the year” must have been a hard task for Collins editors, given the number of contenders omnipresent in the media. The dictionary had many other terms on its shortlist that were almost as frequently used as Donald Trump’s favorite:

  • unicorn – not Scotland’s national animal but the “recently launched business enterprise that is valued at more than one billion dollars”
  • gender-fluid – not identifying exclusively with one gender rather than another
  • insta – related to the photo-sharing app Instagram
  • gig economy – an economy in which there are few permanent employees and most jobs are assigned to temporary or freelance workers
  • fidget spinner – a small toy designed to be spun by the fingers as means of improving concentration or relieving stress
  • echo chamber – an environment, especially on a social media site, in which any statement of opinion is likely to be greeted with approval because it will only be read or heard by people who hold similar views
  • cuffing season – the period of autumn and winter, when single people are considered likely to seek settled relationships rather than engage in casual affairs
  • Corbynmania – fervent enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour Party
  • Antifa – (1) an antifascist organization (2) a member of an antifascist organization adjective: (3) involving, belonging to, or relating to an antifascist organization

And the worst part of it all is that this is not “fake news” – it’s completely legit. By the way, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2017 is “youthquake”, but where’s the fun in that?